Screen profiles some of the hot productions from France, Benelux, Nordics, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia that will be vying for festival slots in 2020.
Our picks from the UK are HERE
Dir. Leos Carax
It is eight years since Carax astonished Cannes with surreal musical comedy-drama Holy Motors in 2012. Hopes are high that he will be back at the Palais des Festivals in 2020 with this romantic Los Angeles-set musical tale, Based on a screenplay by fraternal pop and rock duo Ron and Russell Mael, aka Sparks. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard co-star as a stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife who are parents to a young daughter with a surprising gift. Amazon has acquired US rights.
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
Anticipation is growing around Verhoeven’s French-language feature reuniting him with French-Belgian actress Virginie Efira in the starring role of a controversial 17th Century Italian nun. The film was expected to launch in 2019 but emergency hip surgery in late 2018 forced the Dutch director to put post-production on hold. The feature is an adaption of Judith C. Brown’s academic work Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy. The production sees Verhoeven working once again with Saïd Ben Saïd at Paris-based SBS Productions, who produced his steamy, Isabelle Huppert-starring comeback thriller Elle.
Contact: Pathé International
Dir. Mia Hansen-Love
Hansen-Love’s English-language debut is another film that was expected to hit the festival circuit last year but then got delayed at the production stage. Set against the backdrop of Ingmar Bergman’s longtime home of the Swedish island of Faro, it revolves around a married screenwriting duo who travel there for an event celebrating the late filmmaker. Their plan to complete a screenplay falls apart as fact and fiction blur. Much of the film was shot in Bergman’s former home. The cast features Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps, Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie.
Between Two Worlds
Dir. Emmanuel Carrère
Juliette Binoche stars as an author who goes undercover as a cleaning lady in a northern French port to research a book on job insecurity and social precariousness. It is second fiction for screenwriter Carrère after The Moustache which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in 2005. The film is based on French journalist Florence Aubenas’s bestselling non-fiction work Le Quai de Ouistreham, investigating rising precarity in French society through her experiences in the northern port city of Caen.
Contact: France TV Distribution
Drawing on her own complex history, Maïwenn’s fifth feature DNA revolves around a woman with close ties to a beloved Algerian grandfather who protected her from a toxic home life as a child. When he dies, it triggers a deep identity crisis as tensions between her extended family members escalate revealing new depths of resentment and bitterness. As with her 2011 Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss, Maïwenn both directs and stars. It is expected to be ready for a potential Cannes splash.
Contact: Wild Bunch
For Better Or For Worse
Dir. Stephane Brizé
After social dramas At War and The Measure Of A Man, Brizé explores the world of work again but from a different perspective. Vincent Lindon plays a workaholic executive, opposite Sandrine Kiberlain as his long-suffering wife, who has let his personal life be erased by the demands of his job. At War and The Measure Of A Man both premiered in competition in Cannes but Brizé has also enjoyed debuts at Venice (A Woman’s Life) and Locarno (A Few Hours Of Spring).
Contact: Wild Bunch
Dir. Sylvie Verheydes
Verheyde reunites with Karole Rocher (Sex Doll, Stella) for this bio-pic of about a real-life, iconic Paris brothel owner who controlled a network of hundreds of prostitutes supplying sex to politicians and celebrities in the 1960s and 1970s. The high-profile French cast also includes Garance Marillier (Raw) as Madame Claude’s alter ego and the woman who brought about her downfall, as well as Roschdy Zem, Pierre Deladonchamps, Benjamin Biolay and Hafsia Herzi, star of Verheyde’s last film Sex Doll. Michel Hazanavicius, Riad Sattouf and Florence Gastaud are producing under the banner of their joint Les Compagnons Du Cinema production company.
Contact: Wild Bunch
Dir. Quentin Dupieux
French comedy duo Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais co-star as friends who attempt to train a giant fly and then take it on the road as a moneymaking venture in this characteristically whacky eighth feature for idiosyncratic director Dupieux. The filmmaker opened Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2019 with his dark comedy Deerskin, will he be back in Cannes again this year?
Contact: Wild BunchWTFilms
On A Half Clear Morning
Dir. Bruno Dumont
Léa Seydoux plays a celebrity journalist who falls out of love with fame after a freak car accident. It is Dumont’s first contemporary-set feature since his 2011 drama Outside Satan, although recent forays into TV – P’tit Quinquin and Coincoin And The Extra-humans - were set in the present day. Dumont has debuted six features in Cannes Official Selection across his 20-year career, including most recently Jeanne, which premiered in Un Certain Regard last May. Long-time collaborators Jean Bréhat, Rachid Bouchareb and Muriel Merlin at 3B Productions are producing with RedBallon and Scope on board as co-producers.
Contact: Indie Sales
La pièce rapportée
Dir. Antonin Peretjatko
There is strong buzz in France around Peretjatko third feature, especially after Le Cahiers du Cinéma flagged it as one of the films it was looking forward to in 2020. Peretjatko has enjoyed a strong cinephile following at home ever since his debut workThe Rendez-vous of Déja-Vu took Cannes Directors’ Fortnight by storm in 2013, with critics highlighting its New Wave feel. This new film is an inheritance farce co-starring Philippe Katerine as a 48-year-old bachelor who falls for and marries a young Metro ticket office attendant (Anaïs Demoustier) much to the disdain of grandiose mother (Josiana Balasko) who suspects the woman is cheating on her son.
Contact: Atelier de production
Summer of 85
Dir. Francois Ozon
Set against the backdrop of a Normandy seaside resort in the 1980s, this coming of age tale revolves around the intense relationship between three teenagers as they explore life, love and death. The cast features emerging French actors Félix Lefebvre (School’s Out) and Benjamin Voisin (Un Vrai Bonhomme) and Dernière Belgium’s Philippine Velge.
Dir. Olivier Dahan
Having previously explored the lives of Edith Piaf in Oscar-winning La Vie En Rose and Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco, Dahan turns his attention to the iconic French figure of Simone Veil, who survived the Holocaust and went on to become a leading politician, human rights campaigner and feminist. Elsa Zylberstein plays the adult Veil. Although Veil’s early life was shrouded in tragedy, Dahan has said the overall tone of the film will be positive. It is expected to launch at an autumn festival.
Contact: Other Angle
Dir. Benoit Jacquot
Charlotte Gainsbourg plays a 40-year-old woman torn between her conventional life as a bourgeois wife and mother and the promise of freedom embodied in her young lover (Niels Schneider). As she views a beach house on the French Riviera with the lover in tow, her choice is presented in stark relief. The 1960s-set drama is adapted from a 1968 play by French writer and playwright Marguerite Duras. Jacquot’s long-time producer Kristina Larsen at Les Films du Lendemain is producing the film. Gainsbourg previously worked with Jacquot on his 2014 love triangle drama 3 Hearts.
Contact: Les Films Du Losange
Dir. Just Philippot
Emerging director Philippot made his international debut at Sundance last year with the short film Acide in which a strange acidic cloud passes over a country causing panic. His first feature stars Suliane Brahim as a single mother who is struggling to get a grasshopper farm off the ground until she discovers her high-protein livestock love the taste of blood. The elevated genre work is produced by Capricci and Manuel Chiche’s The Jokers Films.
Contact: Wild Bunch
Dead & Beautiful (Netherlands)
Dir. David Verbeek
A group of super-rich and spoiled twenty-somethings wake up from a night of wild partying to discover they have turned into vampires in this long-gestated Taiwan-set feature, exploring Asia’s “have-it-all” second generation. It is lead produced by Amsterdam-based festival regular Lemming Film. Verbeek’s last feature Full Contact premiered at Toronto.
Contact: Indie Sales
Home Front (Belgium)
Dir. Lucas Belvaux
Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Frot co-star as brother and sister in this drama exploring the impact of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) on entire generations on either side of the conflict. Depardieu plays a brutish character tortured by the horrors he saw as a young French soldier in Algeria. When he disrupts his sister’s 60th birthday party in Burgundy years later, it sets in motion a chain of flashbacks explaining his current state. Belvaux was last in Cannes with The Right Of The Weakest in 2006. His last feature This Is Our Land premiered at Rotterdam.
Contact: Doc & Film/Jour2Fête, Wild Bunch
Praey (aka Animals) (Belgium)
Dir. Nabil Ben Yadir
Recounting the events around the violent homophobic murder of a young Belgian-Moroccan man who was abducted from outside a night club in the Belgian city of Liege in 2012, this drama could be a tough watch but will still be on the radar of festival programmers. 10.80 Films, the company Ben Yadir co-runs with Benoit Roland, is producing with the support of the Dardenne Brothers Les Films du Fleuve.
Contact: 10.80 Films
Wise Blood (Belgium)
Dirs. Bouli Lanners, Tim Mielants
Prolific actor-director Lanners joins forces with Mielants, who created a stir in 2019 with debut feature Patrick. Set in a strict religious community in the Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides, the drama deals with love, illness and false memory. Lanners co-stars with Michelle Fairley Game Of Thrones fame.
Another Round (Denmark)
Dir. Thomas Vinterberg
Vinterberg reunites with scriptwriter Tobias Lindholm and The Hunt actor Mads Mikkelsen for this drama about a group of disillusioned high school teachers who embark on an experiment to uphold a constant level of intoxication throughout their workday. It has sold to multiple territories including UK and Ireland where Studiocanal acquired rights.
The Innocents (Norway)
Dir. Eskil Vogt
Vogt delivers a creepy supernatural thriller revolving around four children whose innocent games take a sinister turn. Vogt’s debut feature Blind premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama in 2014 and the director is also no stranger to Cannes as the regular writing partner of Joachim Trier on films such as Louder Than Bombs and Oslo, 31. August. Maria Ekerhovd produces for Mer Film, the recent credits of which include What Will People Say and Disco.
Contact: Maria Ekerhovd Mer Film
Dir. Ninja Thyberg
Rising talent Thyberg’s eagerly awaited feature directorial debut follows a young Swedish woman navigating the porn industry in Los Angeles. Cannes would seem a likely berth for this adventurous work, especially as Thyberg’s short Pleasure won a prize at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2013. Erik Hemmendorff and Ruben Ostlund’s Plattform Produktion produce.
Contact: Pape Boye, Versatile Films
Dir. Valdimar Jóhannsson
This supernatural drama was one of the highlights of the Les Arcs’ work in progress presentations in December, prompting an enthusiastic burst of applause when the lights went up. Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason star as an Icelandic couple who adopt a new-born child that is half-human, half-sheep. It is Jóhannsson’s debut film. He co-wrote the script with acclaimed Icelandic author and poet Sjón.
Contact: New Europe Film Sales
Oasis Of Now (Finland)
Dir. Hamy Ramezan
Finnish-Iranian filmmaker Hamy Ramezan draws on child experiences for this debut feature about a 13-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down when his family’s asylum application is turned by Finnish immigration authorities. The film won the Screen International Best Pitch Award at Tallinn in 2018 and best project at the 2019 Finnish Film Affair. Aamu Film Company, best known for Un Certain ReThe Happiest Day In The Life of Olli Maki, produces. The cast includes Asghar Farhadi regular Shahab Hosseini.
Contact: Emilia Haukka, Aamu Film Company
Dirs. Fabio D’Innocenzo, Damiano D’Innocenzo
Described as a dark fairytale, the second feature from the D’Innocenzo brothers explores the secrets and lies hidden behind the closed doors of a seemingly idyllic southern suburb of Rome. The directors recently described the film as ”American Beauty, without America, or the beauty” in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. The self-taught fraternal directorial duo burst onto the international scene in 2018 with their debut joint feature Boys Cry which premiered in Berlinale’s Panorama and then toured the festival circuit. Rome-based Pepito Produzioni produces this new film with backing of Rai Cinema.
Contact: The Match Factory
Dir. Nanni Moretti
Adapted from Israeli writer Adapted Eshkol Nevo’s novel Three Floors Up, Moretti’s new film revolves around families living on different floors of the same apartment building in a well-heeled neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. Moretti’s production house Sacher Film is producing together with Italy’s Rai Cinema and Fandango as well as Paris-based Le Pacte. Moretti, who the Palme d’Or for The Son’s Room in 2001, has premiered seven films at Cannes throughout his career and was last in competition with Mia Madre in 2015.
Contact: The Match Factory
Dir. Susanna Nicchiarelli
In a second biopic for Nicchiarelli, after Nico, 1988, Romola Garai stars as Karl Marx’s youngest daughter Eleanor, whose strong public persona masked a complicated personal life. Rome-based production company Vivo film with Rai Cinema and in co-production Belgium’s Tarantula. It began shooting at the end of 2019 for a potential late 2020 launch.
Contact: Celluloid Dreams
Dir. Burhan Qurbani
Qurbani and co-writer Martin Behnke draw on elements and characters from Alfred Döblin’s eponymous 1929 Weimer Republic era classic novel for this tale set in present-day Berlin. A refugee from Guinea Bissau struggles to survive in the German capital without papers after illegally crossing by boat from Africa to Europe. His attempts to do this by honest means are challenges when he is befriended by a shady German drug dealer in a relationship that will result in both tragedy and redemption.
Contact: Beta Cinema
Narcissus And Goldmund
Dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky
European Shooting Star Jannis Niewöhner and Sabin Tambrea play the titular protagonists in Academy Award-winner Ruzowitzky’s adaptation of Hermann Hesse’s 1930 classic bestseller. Set against the backdrop of the Middle Ages it charts the life-long friendship and contrasting destinies of two men who meet in a monastery. Narcissus is a cerebral, intellectual figure, who commits himself to a life of academic learning and abstinence, while the artistically-gifted and restless figure of Goldmund quits the monastery for a life of wandering.
Contact: Beta Cinema
Dir. Christian Petzold
Petzold unites with Transit co-stars Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski for this modern-day retelling of a myth revolving around a water nymph who falls in love with a human but is destined to die if he betrays her. In this contemporary version, Undine is a young female historian and tour leader in Berlin, who develops an unexplained urge to kill her boyfriend when he leaves her. She fights these feelings and finds fresh happiness with an industrial diver until he starts probing deeper into her past experiences.
Contact: The Match Factory
Dir. Franka Potente
It is more than 20 years since German actress Potente broke out internationally in the lead role of Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run. Having forged an acting career in Hollywood and back home, she makes her feature-length directorial debut with this English language drama starring Jake McLaughlin as a 40-year-old man who returns home after 20 years in prison, trying to reclaim his place in society and accept the repercussions of the crime he committed. Kathy Bates also features in the cast.
Contact: Bac Films
Dir. Oskar Roehler
Maverick filmmaker Roehler takes a characteristically idiosyncratic approach in his interpretation of the life and times of the legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder who would have turned 75 in 2020. Oliver Masucci, who was Adolf Hitler in the satire Look Who’s Back, heads up a glittering cast as Fassbinder. Roehler was last in Berlin with Jew Suss: Rise And Fall in 2010.
Contact: Bavaria Film
Dir. Juanma Bajo Ulloa
Bajo Ulloa returns to the fiction feature format for the first time in five years with this non-dialogue psychological thriller. Former Screen UK Star of Tomorrow Rosie Day plays an upper-class junkie who sells her new-born baby to a child trafficking network and immediately regrets her decision. Other cast members include Natalia Tena (Game Of Thrones) and Harriet Sansom Harris (Phantom Thread). Bajo Ulloa is one of Spain’s most versatile directors with works spanning award-winning drama The Dead Mother and the 2015 comedy Rey Gitano.
Dir. Clara Roquet
Rising Spanish director Roquet makes her feature film debut with this coming-of-age tale about the friendship between two young girls from different social backgrounds, shot on the Catalonian coastal region of Costa Brava over the summer. Columbia University Film Program alumna Roquet has previously distinguished herself with short films The Goodbye and The Good Girls as well as numerous co-writing credits, including Jaime Rosales’ Petra.
Dir. Pilar Palomero
An 11-year-old girl studying in a convent school in Zaragoza finds her life opening up to other possibilities when she is befriended by a new classmate recently arrived from Barcelona. It is Palomero’s debut feature after several well-received shorts including 2009 comedy drama Balcony Boy. It is produced by Inicia Films, the Barcelona-based company behind Carla Simon’s Berlinale best first film winner Summer 1993, and BTeam (A Thief’s Daughter).
Contact: Film Factory Entertainment
Selene, 66 Questions
Dir. Jacqueline Lentzou
Lentzou won best short film with Hector Malt: The Last Day Of The Year in Cannes Critics’ Week in 2018. In her debut feature, rising Greek actress Sofia Kokkali (Thread, Little England) plays a woman who returns home to Greece after living for several years in France to care for her sick father. When she discovers his long-term secret love story it gives their father-daughter relationship a fresh start.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Charlatan (Czech Republic)
Dir. Agnieszka Holland
Veteran Czech actor Ivan Trojan stars in this biopic about later Czech healer Jan Mikolasek (1889-1973) who healed millions of people using plant-based remedies. Unfolding against the backdrop of Nazi and then Communist rule, the feature is a Czech production. Polish director Holland studied at the FAMU film school in Prague in the late 1960s and her early work was heavily influenced by Czech cinema but this is the first time she has directed a film in the Czech Republic.
Contact: Film Boutique
In The Mirror (Latvia)
Dir. Laila Pakalnina
Veteran Latvian filmmaker Pakalnina explores modern obsessions with appearance, fitness and social media in this experimental, contemporary retelling of Snow White in which the young heroine is growing up with a narcissistic, fitness fanatic stepmother. The entire film is shot from a selfie-inspired viewpoint. It is not the first time Pakalnina has taken inspiration from a fairytale to reflect on the contemporary world. Her 1998 work The Shoe - which premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard - drew on Cinderella to explore life in a Latvian seaside town in the 1950s under Soviet rule.
Contact: Hargla Company
Heavens Above (Serbia)
Dir. Srdjan Dragojevic
Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic (We Are Not Angels, Parade) offers an unconventional perspective on the transition period in post-communist society in this dark comedy with fantastic elements. It consists of three stories set in 1993, 2001 and 2018, adapted from short stories by French writer Marcel Aymé.
Contact: Pluto Film
The Hill Where Lionesses Roar (Kosovo)
Dir. Luàna Bajrami
One of the buzz projects at the works in progress event of the Les Arcs Film Festival in December, this coming-of-age tale revolves around three bored teenagers who set up a heist gang targeting local traders in a small town in Kosovo. It is the debut feature of 18-year-old French-Kosovan director Bajrami. Best known in France as an actress, Barjami has recently been short-listed by France’s Cesar Academy for its 2020 revelation award for her performance as the servant girl in Céline Sciamma’s Portrait Of A Lady On Fire.
Contact: Loco Films
The Story Of My Wife (Hungary)
Dir. Ildiko Enyedi
Dutch actor Gijs Naber co-stars opposite French stars Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel in this tale of love, jealousy and self-deception, adapted from late Hungarian poet-novelist Marin Fust’s eponymous 1942 literary classic. Naber plays a Dutch sea captain who is obsessed with the idea that his flirtatious French wife has been unfaithful to him. Garrel is a mysterious figure called Dedin who may or not be the young woman’s lover. Enyedi’s last film On Body and Soul won the Berlinale’s Golden Bear in 2017 and was then nominated in the Oscar foreign-language category (since rebranded best international film) in 2018.
Contact: Films Boutique
Wonder Zenia (Poland)
Dir. Malgorzata Szumowska
After last year’s US-set, Ireland-shot English-language debut The Other Lamb, Szumowska returns to Poland for this timely drama exploring the growing class and wealth divide across Europe through the tale of a Ukrainian migrant who makes a living as a masseur within a gated community on the outskirts of Warsaw. The film is currently shooting for a 2020 launch.
Contact: The Match Factory
Dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
Feted theatre and film director Serebrennikov missed out on the Cannes premiere of his feature Leto in 2018 because he was under house arrest in Moscow but should be back on the festival trail this year with his first feature since his nearly two years of confinement came to an end in April 2019. This eighth feature is a quirky, surrealistic drama about members of an ordinary family from Yekaterinburg who turn out to have secret sides to their lives. It is a co-production between Serebrennikov’s long-time producer Ilya Stewart at Moscow-based Hype Film and France’s Logical Pictures and Charades as well as Swiss company Bord Cadre.